Do I need counselling? Why would I need counselling?

Many clients seek counselling when they want extra support during major life transitions and challenges, or when they are in emotional distress. Many others seek counselling as a part of their normal self-care routine, and look at it as preventative maintenance, or a way to achieve personal growth and maintain health and wellness.

What are the benefits of counselling?

  • An opportunity for you to explore any situations, relationships, behaviours, thoughts, or feelings that may be causing difficulty in your life
  • A source of comfort and support during a crisis, or a challenging, difficult time
  • A space to gain deeper awareness and insight into yourself and others
  • Better ways of understanding and coping with problems or challenges
  • Better communication and functioning in relationships

What are the risks of counselling?

  • Temporary emotional discomfort due to close examination of difficult topics
  • Emotional or physical fatigue immediately after a session. It may help to schedule some time after a session to process what was discussed.
  • Changes in relationship patterns with those close to you, which may need a time of adjustment before things improve

What should I look for in a counsellor?

  • Graduate level education (Masters level or higher) from an accredited university or college
  • Registration and/or certification with a professional association to ensure adherence to a professional code of ethics
  • Experience in the specific type of counselling/issues that you are interested in
  • Participation in ongoing professional development (i.e., workshops, training, supervision)
  • A "good fit" and a style and personality that you feel comfortable with
  • Membership in professional organizations that provide in-depth education and training
  • All of the counsellors at Well Woman Counselling are Masters-level educated and are members of a professional association such as BCACC or CCPA

What should I expect in the first session?

In the first session you will meet with your counsellor and fill out an intake form and a consent form. You will spend time getting to know one another to determine if there is a "good fit" for each of you. Your counsellor will also want to know more about the issues that bring you to counselling, about your history, and about your goals for counselling (initial assessment). Together, you will make a plan for future counselling sessions.

How many sessions will I need?

Most clients have anywhere from 4 to 20 sessions, depending on what concerns are brought in. Some clients prefer a more in-depth exploration of their issues or concerns and attend counselling for longer periods of time, but many clients gain considerable satisfaction after only 4 to 6 sessions. Your counsellor will give you an idea of how many sessions you might need by the end of your first session. Once the initial set of planned counselling sessions is complete, many clients return in the future for occasional "booster" sessions or when other concerns arise.

How often will I be expected to come in for sessions?

You can decide what feels right for you, but most clients come in once a week or once every two weeks, especially at the beginning. Over time, sessions are tapered off until they are no longer required. Whether you choose to come in weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, attending sessions on a consistent basis provides the best results because it keeps you on track and motivated. Advance booking of appointments is available if you wish to reserve a preferred day or time.

Do I need a referral?

You do not need a referral for counselling. But if you are working with another health care professional (GP, OB/GYN, psychiatrist, physiotherapist, etc.), we may ask your permission to consult with them to provide you with the best care possible.

What is the cost of counselling?

Fees are set according to guidelines recommended by the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. Fees are due at the end of each session and are payable by cash or cheque. Most of our therapists also accept Visa and MasterCard. Sorry debit is not available. Fees are subject to change with notice. See the Fees page for more information on current rates.

Is counselling covered by my health care plan?

Unfortunately, BC's provincial health care plan (MSP) does not cover the cost of counselling. However, many extended health care plans (e.g., Blue Cross, Sunlife, ManuLife, Great West Life, etc.) will reimburse you for the services of a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) or Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC). All of our therapists are registered and/or certified. If you have coverage, you will be required to pay for the counselling session and then submit your receipt to your extended healthcare plan for reimbursement.

Is everything I say confidential?

Yes, with a few exceptions, any personal information that you share in a counselling session is kept confidential by your counsellor according to BC's Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA, 2004). However, Well Woman Counselling is a group practice which means that your basic contact information may be seen by the counsellors in the office for purposes of scheduling your appointments only. In addition, confidentiality cannot be confirmed for any information sent via email or fax. Finally, Well Woman Counselling's therapists participate in ongoing professional supervision and consultation, during which time non-identifying, anonymous information may be shared with the group of professionals. Under PIPA, your identity remains anonymous. Also under PIPA, your records belong to you and information cannot be disclosed to anyone outside of the office unless you provide a written request for release of information. Every effort is made to respect client confidentiality, however counsellors are required by law to share your information when/if:

  • It is revealed that a child is or may be at risk of abuse or neglect, or in need of protection
  • If you or another person is at clear risk of imminent harm
  • If disclosure is otherwise required or authorized by law (e.g., legal order, subpoena, warrant)

What about privacy?

The office is located in a professional, medical building that holds many different types of businesses. Once inside the office, it is possible to run into other clients in the waiting room, but every effort is made to schedule sessions with as little overlap between clients as possible. If privacy is a critical concern, please tell your counsellor in advance so that special arrangements can be made. In addition, every effort is made to ensure that any correspondence (fax, phone, email) is kept secure.

How do I make an appointment?

To make a counselling appointment please go to the Schedule Appointment button on the website to access the online booking system. Simply choose your preferred counsellor and then your preferred date and time.You will then be sent an email to confirm your appointment. Please note that online booking is available for all of our therapist except for Holly who prefers to book by email or phone.

If you would like to connect with us or want more information prior to booking an appointment, please call or email (place the name of your counsellor in the subject line). If you leave a message on the confidential voicemail, please note that we do not have a receptionist, but every effort will be made to return your call within 2 business days.

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

Your appointment time is reserved specially for you, which means that others are required to wait to access counselling services. Therefore, 24 hours cancellation notice is required or a no-show fee equivalent to the full session amount will be charged (except in the case of an emergency). You can cancel your appointment by using the online booking system, by email, or by calling 604.568.6765.

What if I am late for my appointment?

Clients arriving more than 15 minutes late for their scheduled appointment will be considered to have missed their appointment and a no-show fee equivalent to the full session amount will be charged (except in the case of an emergency).

What if it is an emergency and it is outside of normal business hours?

If it is an after-hours emergency and you require immediate attention please call the Vancouver 24-hour Crisis Line at 604.872.3311. You may also call 911 and/or go to your nearest hospital Emergency Room for assistance.